1997 Exploitation Movie, Perfect Blue, about a sweet concoction of reality and reverie that still stirs a genuine intrigue among the anime audience, but certain scenes from the movie continue to be deeply uncomfortable and unsettling.
This pulp thriller movie is a perfect blend of good and evil, private and public, crime and cyberspace; all tied tightly with blatant soft core nudity, explicit assault, and violence.
Although the movie can be considered a masterpiece by Satoshi Kon, this movie will set your mind in a slow buzz with its pop culture and psychological themes. Learn more about it in our Perfect Blue anime review.
An insipid ex-member of a girl-pop group from Japan, Mima Kirigoe (Junko), decides to quit her successful musical career to pursue acting as her new career path upon being egged on by her agent. Upon ditching her tutus, she lands a small role in one of the TV series.
Her freedom is short-lived when her ex-band scores a smash hit in Japan’s music industry without her, while she still struggles with a trivial role in the psycho series. Mima’s life takes an unexpected turn when she comes across a well-detailed diary on the internet that well-informs about her in an exceedingly creepy way. Her days turn even more unnerving when she discovers a crazed stalker.
Another problem that pops up in Mima’s life not very long later is the version of her former pop idol self, who now wants to persecute her because she would rather not be shelved. Mima begins to have flashes of her alter ego, who is dead set on wreaking havoc on the ‘real’ her.
To make matters worse, Mima further marks her previous innocent idol image by posing in the photoshoot that demands her to strip and indulge in a lurid rape scene for her series. Consequently, Mima’s life falls apart to a disorienting blend of the events of her life and the plot of the series. A couple of murders makes Mima question the daunting ghost from her past.
Is Mima delusional, fantasizing, dreaming, stalked by a deranged man or even worse, a menacing killer with an undetected personality disorder.
Viewer’s First Impression
Perfect Blue is a classic woman-in-peril thriller movie that delves into the life of a sensational media queen in the Japanese entertainment industry. It also touches upon pedophilia in Japanese pop culture, whereby a relatively childlike girl is normalized as the next fantasy object for sexual indulgence.
This movie is a poignant, scary, gripping and thoughtful psychological thriller that made the director, Satoshi Kon, iconic and ranked the best with Argento or De Palma.
Production, Crew, and Background
Perfect Blue is a Palm Pictures release of a Manga Entertainment presentation of Rex Entertainment Co. production. This movie is produced by Hiroaki Inoue and Masao Maruyama and marks the debut directorial of Satoshi Kon.
The screenplay by Sadyuki Murai is based on the 1991 novel Perfect Blue: Kanzen (released in English by Seven Seas Entertainment as Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis) authored by Yoshikazu Takeuchi.
The movie premiered at Fant-Asia Film Awards in Montreal in 1997 and received the Best Asian Film and Best American Film. This film was recognized and critically praised in various film festivals worldwide before it hit the Japanese theaters in 1998.
Characters, Arcs, and Development
- Mima Kirigo: Mima is an intricately designed character, also the protagonist of the movie, who quit her girl-pop band Cham to pursue her career as an actor instead.
- Mamoru Uchida: Also known as Me-Mania, Uchida is an obsessed fan of Mima.
- Rei: Rei is a singer in Mima’s ex-girl pop band Cham. After Mima’s exit, Rei and the remainder of the band members of Cham released a song to hit the great music charts. She seemingly cares about the protagonist even after changing her career path.
- Rumi Hidaka: As the manager of Mima and a former Japanese pop idol, Rumi is opposed to Mima’s career switch to acting.
- Tejjma: Tejjma is an influential figure in the world of the Japanese Entertainment industry. The fact that his word impacts the stardom of various debut actors has been emphasized in the movie clearly.
- Murano: The infamous photographer who enjoys stripping women, exhibitionist style, dies shortly after he takes pictures of a naked Mima.